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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Many folks mention that they are placing supers over tbh's.

Several of the 'traditional' texts ( if there is such a thing as a 'traditional' tbh text) will say that it were intended or more in-line with the TBH approach to monitor closely and pull drawn and capped bars more frequently than to fit supers over.

I do not want this turn turn into a detrimentally competitive discussion, I would just like to get folks who have seen or used both methods to provide some details into which they have found more productive or 'better' for them and why.

Big Bear
 

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I have 2 tbh's and a lang. I have never supered my tbhs, I just pull a few bars at a time. It has been especially nice to have someone ask for a jar of honey, have them come over and pull a bar with me, then crush and strain it with them.

I love supering my lang hive, nothing quite beats hefting off a sixty pound medium of honey. I can safely say that neither of my tbhs have ever given me sixty pounds of honey in a season.

It seems that my tbhs, which are thirty-some-odd bars each, have slightly less than half that space devoted to the brood nest. In the stores section of the hive, they are often working on three to five bars at once : I would like it if they would fill, and cap one bar before moving on to the next, but they don't seem to like my way of thinking. This leaves limited storage space for honey. If I need to leave them ten bars to get through the winter, this doesn't leave much working room for ripening and storing honey which I might deem as excess, or mine.

The tbhs are a balancing act to me: I would often like to take ten or twelve capped bars of honey, but even as early as June or July, rain or drought could shut down the flow and leave them starving through the winter, so I can never take it all, in fact I usually leave way more than I take, regardless of flow or season.

With me, my lang is a different story. I can keep plopping empty supers on, as they fill and cap I can give them all the room they want or need. I do not have to empty one super again and again to make room for more honey production. I generally agree that it is easier to get large quantities of honey from a lang hive, due largely to the logistics of taking or leaving the honey on the hive.

This would likely also apply to a supered top bar hive. If I could build my own simple supering boxes, which used bars rather than frames, and which connected to the tbh in a simple, secure, bee and weather-proof fashion, I might. Perhaps a nuc-sized tbh having a length equal to the width of the top of my hive, sitting crosswise on top, with an open bottom which would take the place of four or five bars.

Why won't I super my tbhs ? Well, for me it violates the screaming simplicity and pleasure of the hive. I already have a lang, I don't want to turn my tbhs into langs. The honey I produce is more than enough for me and my family and friends, plus a bit to sell.
 

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I have done both. But it did seem like the main attraction for me at the time was not lifting boxes, so supering seemed counter productive for that. But supering has the advantage of needing less frequent harvesting. I made the mistake once of leaving the super on because the cluster was strong and I wanted to leave them plenty of food. Bad move. The cluster moved up into the super and starved with a long hive full of honey behind them...
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I should also mention that I will be running mostly KTBH's this year and a couple langs.

However, I will not be supering as I am one of those who believes that tbh's, ktbh's in particular, are not really intended for honey production work.

I am a conservation oriented bee technician and I am pretty much trying to keep bees alive and healthy and help them to reproduce and build resistances and tolerances that will help them to be better survivors. That is my number one priority.

I expect in the course of space management, I will be pulling some few bars of honey as 'surplus' but again, my objective is to make sure they have enough for them before I consider removing anything.

Big Bear
 

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I have done both. But it did seem like the main attraction for me at the time was not lifting boxes, so supering seemed counter productive for that. But supering has the advantage of needing less frequent harvesting. I made the mistake once of leaving the super on because the cluster was strong and I wanted to leave them plenty of food. Bad move. The cluster moved up into the super and starved with a long hive full of honey behind them...
Very nice side note!! I will remember this one!!!

Experience comes from a very demanding teacher.
 
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